New report reviews state election websites

Voters are increasingly turning to the internet to find election information. A nationwide survey found that 28% of voters would look online to find out the location of a new polling place. Many of these internet savvy voters will end up on their state’s official election website. (Check out an earlier blog post for more details, “Voters Turn to Search Engines To Find Election Information”).

A new report, Being Online is Still Not Enough, released from The Pew Center on the State’s Election Initiatives Team investigates what voters encounter when they turn to their state’s election website. Being Online is Still Not Enough scores 50 state websites (plus DC) in terms of content, look-up tools, and usability. The report is a follow-up to Pew’s 2008 report, Being Online is Not Enough. In addition to evaluating state web content, the report also highlights best practices for websites to help voters easily identify and comprehend election information.

Here are a few key findings from Being Online is Still Not Enough:

  • State election websites have improved significantly in several categories since 2008, including providing a polling place look-up tool, allowing voters to check their registration status online, and providing information for military and overseas voters.

  • 82% of state election websites were the first result in a Google search for “register to vote in [state]”.

  • Only 13 state websites were written at the recommended eighth grade reading level.

If you want to learn how your state can improve its website, check out best practices for contentlookup tools, and usability. Also, we encourage you to embed VIP’s polling place locator gadget onto your website to help folks find the right place to vote.

Michelle Shim